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No cure for scary Valley Fever
In the absence of any cure, Coccidioidomycosis has become the most life-threatening disease in the west. It is basically a fungus that is found in soil in dry or low rainfall areas. It is common in many areas of the southwestern United States, Mexico, Central and South America.

This fungal disease is also known as Valley Fever, and people get infected by inhaling dust, which is contaminated with Coccidioidomycosis. Later, it infects the lungs, and in extreme cases spreads to the bones, skin and even eyes.

This disease has been named as 'a silent epidemic' by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as almost 20,000 people are affected by it every year, and almost 160 people die in Southwest, especially in California and Arizona.

Although most of the patients suffering with Coccidioidomycosis do not show any symptoms, and even if the symptoms develop they usually occur in the lungs and lead to flu or pneumonia. This can even progress to chronic or progressive lung disease.

Some people like cancer patients, HIV infected people, pregnant women and immunosuppressed people are more susceptible to this disease. Coccidioidomycosis is normally caused by two species of fungi namely Coccidioides immitis and Coccidioides posadasii.

About 60 per cent of the people suffering with this disease do not seek medical care. The Chronic coccidioidomycosis occurs in almost 8 percent of people, and this disease spreads from lungs to other parts of the body. The individual may develop lung cavities, which may disappear in two years.

Dr. Benjamin Park, a medical officer with the CDC, said: “The numbers of cases are underestimated because some states do not require public reporting. They include Texas, where valley fever is endemic along the Rio Grande. In New Mexico, a 2010 survey of doctors and clinics by the state's public health department revealed 69 percent of clinicians did not consider it in patients with respiratory problems,” reported NDTV.

The doctors in the Children's hospital in California say that they have seen a significant increase in the cases of this fungal disease. They earlier used to treat one or two cases of this disease, but now there seems to be a significant increase in the cases of this disease. The treatment of this disease, in its early stages, is important in preventing its dangerous progression, but its detection is a big challenge.

This is becoming a challenge for the governments to control the cases of Coccidioidomycosis in prisons. The hospitalization costs of inmates for cocci have exceeded $23 million. The prisoners are being transferred to different places to avoid the contamination of this disease, and this is becoming a challenge for the prison system already contending with a federal mandate to reduce overcrowding.

Usually, the numbers of cases increase after rainfall, followed by dry spell, and the scientists believe that the infection is related to the changing climate pattern. There is no treatment for this disease till now, and financing issues have stalled research on a fungicide and a potential vaccine. But a company named, Nielsen Biosciences Inc. has developed some skin test identification of the cocci, but it is not yet financially feasible.

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